During the time that Eugene was preaching the mission at La Ciotat, the community in Aix had sent him greetings for his feast day. As he responded to this gesture of community solidarity, he reflected on the ideal of unity that motivated him for the community life of the family of Missionaries.

Get together often and live in the most perfect unity. When I say unity, it is not that I fear that you quarrel, this thought does not cross my mind, but I wish to speak of that cordiality that fusion, if I use that expression, which ought to exist amongst all the members of our Society which ought to have but one heart and one soul.

Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 8 November 1821, EO VI n 74

 The model that Eugene used for community was that of Jesus and the apostles, especially how that community lived after the Resurrection when it was no longer the physical presence of Jesus, but the Holy Spirit who was the source of unity among the members.

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all…  

Acts 4:32-33


“At the centre of Christianity is community; we are gathered by the Lord around the altar.”    Timothy Radcliffe

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Another packed day here. For this piece from Eugene seems to be a continuation of yesterday. Fusion being “the process of combining two or more distinct entities into a new whole”. From Eugene’s “one heart and one soul”, and Acts “one heart, one mind” to finding ourselves being gathered by the Lord around the same table as community. What an incredibly powerful and joyful image that is, and one that again fills me with gratitude.

    I am struck again by the wonder of God’s love and how that love brings us together, whether as husband and wife, as family, as members of community, as the body of Christ.

    We let go of ourselves and discover what already is. We are linked, connected in and through God with each other. We draw our strength and support from God through each other.

    I look at Eugene who could not do it alone and yet with others formed a community, a family that was unstoppable, that lives today. Powerful stuff. I look at how Eugene and those first Oblates bore witness to the resurrection of Christ, and how that did not stop over time – it lives on today. How will I, Eleanor, bear witness today to being one with God and others around me? How will I bear witness as an Oblate Associate and part of a greater family committed to loving the most abandoned among us and each other?

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